There is one God in Three Persons
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This tract outlines the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, explaining what is this doctrine of the trinity, The unity or union of God, the biblical evidences of the trinity, and briefs gives biblical proofs of the deity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as well as briefly answering an objection to the Trinity.
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The Bible presents that there is only one God, but that this single God exists in three persons which have an intimate relationship between the three persons. The Bible clearly indicates that the Father is God, the Son (Jesus Christ) is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. There is no confusion of the persons (each is separate from the other two), nor division of the substance (even being distinct persons there is still only one God). Furthermore there is not more than one God. The resolution of this conflict is made through a teaching of the Trinity.
First we should understand that our concepts of what God is and how God is are limited to what God himself has revealed in the Bible. Our logic and understanding are not sovereign over the reality of God, but God is sovereign over us. We cannot say for example that it is invalid to have one God in three persons if this is what the Bible presents with regard to this matter.
This is a mystery, and we cannot understand it well. If we demand that we have to understand something before it is useful to us or before we accept it into our faith system, then the majority of people will have to stop using electricity, cars, planes, computers, and medicines. Most people do not understand these things either, but they are very useful to them, and any way you look at it, it is certainly a blessing to them whether they understand them or not. Such is our situation with the mysteries of God.
Our attitude towards basic problems – We do not invent doctrine, but we discover it. The honest Christian simply examines the Bible, and understands a matter, and then tries to relate it to what he already knows so as to maintain a biblical harmony with what he already knows. We explain and hold doctrines and positions because this is how we understand the Bible to present to us these matters, and if we cannot understand it and hold without contradictions, it is because we do not understand the Bible sufficiently. So then our goal that we strive for is to relate everything without contradiction.
The problem is that the Bible affirms that there is only one true God (relating to His essence, there are no other gods apart from Him) but it also attributes deity to the three, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But these three also are not three separate Gods, but only one single God. Yet they are not each a third part of God either, but each is fully God in himself. We have to explain this and resolve this, and our explanations about the Trinity are an attempt to explain this logically and biblically taking into account all the points.
The Unity or Union of God
There is one God, No more: Exclusivity – Deut. 6:4; 4:35; Isaiah 44:6-7; 45:5-6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 17:3; Romans 3:30; 1ª Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19. The point of “one” can mean either of two things, one as in number as in counting, 1, 2, 3, or one in unity, a quality which is unique, alone, that there is no other.
Marriage – Both Dt 6:4 and Isaiah 44:8 say that God is one (echad), which means one single composed union, which is also used in Genesis 2:4 where the husband and wife become “one flesh”. See also Genesis 2:24; Mat. 19:5-6; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31. The other word for absolute unity is yachid which is never used in reference to God.
We also see this example in dealing with a nation, because the United States is only one, (the larger unity) but each American is a complete American (individual) without the United States forming millions of Americas. This is also true of the military with each branch is an army, but all branches form the military of the United States. There are not 3 US militaries, but one (unity under plurality).
In the concept of space the base concepts are dimension, length, width, and depth. Without each one the concept of “space” would not exist, but each has the quality of space within it. We do not need all three to have “space” because we calculate space with only one of them. A ruler measures a line. Likewise we combine all three and we do not have 3 spaces but one space.
Ice and the Egg – If we put a piece of ice in boiling water, we see ice, water, and steam. The water exists in three states but there is only one substance present. An egg consists of the shell, the white, and the yolk. But although there are three parts, each is “egg”, we do not have three eggs but only one.
The problem is that these examples are not completely comparable to the Trinity because nothing can explain God. The Bible affirms that there is only one God, and there are three personalities within that one God. But each person of the Trinidad is totally God independent of the other two. Each is not a third part of God, but is completely God in himself. But there are not three Gods either.
Biblical Evidences of the Trinity
(1) The use of the plural by God of Himself in Genesis 1:1-2, 25-27; 3:22; 11:6-7; Isaiah 6:8.
The three persons are clearly seen here:
(2) Zechariah 12:10 (Jehovah = Jesus).
(3) In the Incarnation of Jesus Luke 1:35.
(4) In the Baptism of Jesus Luke 3:21-22.
(5) In the teachings of Jesus Christ John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26.
(6) In Paul’s epistles 2 Corinthians 13:14; Phil. 2:10 with Isaiah 45:22-23.
(7) In the Great commission which Jesus gave to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20.
(8) In Creation (Gen. 1:2; Heb. 1:2/Isa 44:24; 45:18; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Acts 17:24-25.
God is love – 1 John 4:8 declares that “God is love.” But the Bible condemns love of self as a sin. In order for biblical love to exist, we need the person doing the loving (God the Father), the person beloved (God the Son), and the evidence of that love from one to the other (God the Spirit sent by the Father to the Son). All of this lines up perfectly with the Bible’s teaching of the Trinity. The trinity is not option, but essential.
The situation of different persons within the Deity permits different situations to exist. 1 Timothy 2:5, Jesus is God but is also the mediator between God and man. 1 John 2:1 Jesus is our lawyer before God that defends us before God as Judge. Isaiah 53:6 speaks of God putting the iniquity of all on Jesus. He that put and he that received what is put are two distinct people, not the same.
Sent and being sent – Jesus says that His Father sent him (John 14:24) and the Spirit was sent by both the Father (John 14:26) and the Son (John 15:7). Each person is distinct, and their consciousness is different within each person of God.
Praying – Jesus prayed to God the Father to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). If we posit that this is one single person of God talking between himself taking different “personalities” or hats (Modalism) then we call this dementia or craziness (mentally unstable)! Is this what we want to call God? No. The only rational explanation is the Trinity.
The Father is God
Directly called God – The phrase “God the Father” occurs 13 times. John 6:27; 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 1:1, 3; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:17; 2 John 1:3; Jude 1:1. (1 Cor. 8:6)
The Son is God
Called God – Hebrews 1:8; Col. 2:9
Forgives Sin – Luke 7:47-50
Receives worship – Heb. 1:6; Mt. 14:33. The angels refused worship for themselves Rev. 22:8-9. The Devil sought it for himself Mt. 4:9. Men of God refused it when offered to them Acts 14:13-15
Eternal – John 1:1-3; 8:56-58.
Creator – Eph. 3:9; Col 1:16-17
Fullness of the Godhead – Col. 2:8-9.
The Word of God was God, he was with God (two persons) John 1:1-3, 14 (incarnation).
Alpha and Omega – Rev. 1:8; Isaiah 44:6 (Jesus = Jehovah).
Lord – Romans 10:9 (Jesus = Lord) cites Joel 2:32 where the Hebrew is “Jehovah” God.
Savior – Eph 5:23; Phil. 3:20; John 4:42; Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:18; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 4:14.
Only God is the Savior – Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; 1 Tim. 1.1; 2:3; 4:10; Ps. 7:10; 17:7; 106:21; Isa. 43:4; 45:15; Luke 1:47; 2 Sam. 22:3; Jude 1.25.
The Spirit is God
He is called God – Acts 5:3-4.
Omnipresent – Psa. 139:7-12
Omniscient – 1 Cor. 2:10-11
Creator of the world – Gen 1:2
Gives life – Rom 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18
Counselor – John 14:26
Eternal – Heb. 9:14
Savior – John 3:5-6; Rom 8:9; Titus 3:5-7.
They normally attack his Personality – Intelligence 1 Cor. 1:11. Sadness. Speaks 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 14:3. Teach John 14:26; Neh. 9:20. Reveals the future Luke 2:26. Gives testimony Rom 8:16. Guides into Truth John 16:13. Reproaches John 16:8. Makes intercesion Rom 8:26. Distributes gifts 1 Cor 12:11. You can blaspheme against him Mat 12:31-32.
Objections to the Trinity
John 14:28 “my Father is greater than I” – Refers to the position in heaven that is greater than Jesus position when he was on earth. Phil 2:5-11 makes clear that Jesus is equal with the Father according to divine nature. It is like in an army, two generals may be of equal rank, but one is taking a position over the other in an aspect of the war (to make things more orderly). The used in John 14:28 is meizon not kreitton which is used to describe someone who is superior in nature. Kreitton is used in Heb. 1:4 which says that Jesus is superior in nature to the angels. In the same way the argument that Jesus subjected himself to the will of God proves He is not God resolves itself in the same manner.
The Trinity is not something easily understood, because we are dealing with the very essence of God, but this is what the Bible presents.